Sara & Michael

Every single couple throughout The Elopement Issue is showing us how it’s done and today, is the modern, the marvellous, and the chic city elopement of Sara and Michael.

Sara and Michael had plans to move to the USA, with COVID putting their plans on hold (the Australian lockdown kicking in just two weeks after they tied the knot). They decided to tie the knot in Melbourne, an occasion, Sara admits was more for family and friends, if anything “We actually didn’t really want to have a wedding, to be honest! All we really wanted was to be married and to be able to call each other husband and wife!”

With the help of elopement planners Elopement Collective and photographer Bulb Creative Co, these two completely nailed their dream of a wedding that exemplified a vibe of “Laid back but not casual, intimate, timeless/classic.”

A beautiful Sydney day, was the moment Sara and Michael first laid eyes on one another. “Michael and I met on his first day in Sydney. Michael is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2009. He originally moved to Melbourne, and going to Sydney was a bit of a last-ditch thing. He wasn’t loving Melbourne (as it) was a little too similar to the UK and was considering going back to the UK. But we ended up meeting and becoming great friends before getting together nearly a decade ago!”

Turns out, the proposal, just like the wedding, was romantic and intimate. Sara reminiscing “Michael proposed in 2019. It was my birthday at the end of May, but I was away for work in the UK for a month so wasn’t home for my birthday. While I was overseas, he told me he was taking me away for my birthday when I got home. He booked a beautiful converted church for us to stay in through Airbnb, and when we arrived he asked me if I wanted my birthday present. I said yes (of course — who doesn’t love presents!) and he told me to close my eyes. When I opened them, he was on one knee, and he asked me to marry him. I obviously said yes!”

The scene was set at beautiful city venue, Recoleta Sara explaining  “We were planning on moving to the US this year, but COVID put our plans on hold. We wanted to get married somewhere that felt quintessentially Melbourne. We found a tiny, private dining room with a little rooftop courtyard called Recoleta (owned by Spring Street Events) on Bourke Street. It was perfect! The dining room accommodated our guests perfectly (we had 12 people there), and we loved that the courtyard was nestled among other rooftops.”

There was no doubt in Sara and Michael’s minds, that hiring Elopement Collective to plan their elopement, was one of the best decisions they made Sara noting  “The Elopement Collective were fantastic to work with – they made the whole process so easy. We really didn’t want to have a wedding and dreaded having to do the whole thing – we really had it more for our friends and families than anyone else. Britt and Josh put both of us at ease and were great in helping us cut through the BS. They are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to have a traditional wedding, or who feels a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing (like we did) – I would highly recommend them!”

Sara’s favourite memory of the day? “Seeing Mike when I walked into the courtyard – he was beaming, and he looked so happy. I’ll never forget how happy he looked!”

The rooftop ceremony was officiated by Josh Withers.  “Our celebrant Josh was amazing. He recognised early on that we didn’t want the whole spectacle of vows and readings – it was short and sweet! We’re not the kind of couple that likes to be the centre of attention or to be very overtly romantic in front of others. I really appreciated that Josh didn’t push an agenda here and that he wrote some short beautiful words for us instead.”

One of Sara’s favourite treasures is her engagement ring made by Nicky Burles (you can see it in detail here.)  She says “It was so special having a dear friend of ours make my stunning New England sapphire and diamond engagement ring.”

“I’ve always hated the idea of wearing a dress for my wedding” notes Sara, of her decision to don those amazing Arsndorf pants. “I look ridiculous in dresses, and I also hate doing anything that’s traditional or expected of a woman to do. I went with a Italy 1950’s aesthetic – gorgeous wide leg ivory trousers from Arsndorf, coupled with a dark blue linen shirt, tan belt, and stunning Italian wedge sandals. It was all very Lake Como, lots of champagne, timelessness.” Michael wore a shirt & pants by Rag & Bone and shoes from  Red Wing Shoes.

Sara’s beautiful makeup was styled by Dana Leviston. Her hair by  Amelia Mills. “My makeup artist and hairstylists were incredible!! I had such a ball with them at the apartment that I stayed at to get ready in. And they took such great care of my mum and one of my best friends. They were awesome!”

Although it was an elopement, Sara and Michael did make sure to invite some very special guests. “For us it was all about who was there” explains the bride. “We only had our closest friends and family there. We had friends and family fly in from Sydney, Perth, Tasmania and London to be here for the wedding. The fact that they made it to be with us was the most special thing by far.”

Flower wise, Sarah and Michael wanted “Australian natives and a white/nudes/sage  palette” says Sara. “They worked perfectly with the outfit I wore.”

Sara’s favourite wedding photo? A frozen moment in time! “Our photographer took nearly all of our photos in Melbourne alleyways which I love. There’s one, in particular, that was used as the cover for our gallery that I LOVE. Mike and I are to the left of some posters for events that we’re meant to be on in Melbourne. I look back at that photo all the time and remember how lucky we were to get have that day – you can see the moment in time that it marked, with things that never got to happen. It’s just really special to me.”

Sara shares this thought out advice for couples yet to walk down the aisle themselves. “Don’t listen to anybody else’s opinion on what you should do for your wedding! My anxieties about the wedding all came from thinking that I had to fit a certain mould as a bride – you don’t have to do that!

And as cliched as it sounds, do everything you can to remove stress and enjoy the day. It goes by so, so, so fast!!”

The couple’s wedding photographer? Highly recommended says, Sara! “Harley from the Elopement Collective/Bulb Creative was incredible! He helped us get really comfortable as he took photos. We’re not great in front of cameras, but what he captured was stunning! I’m so glad that he was our photographer – he moved quickly and nailed the aesthetic we were after. Would highly recommend!”

A big congratulations to you both Sara and Michael! Thank you for sharing your stunner of a day with us. Thank you, additionally to the duo of Elopement Collective and  Bulb Creative Co for working with us to share this beautiful day!